Minato's Laundromat is a Japanese BL series about a high school student's unrequited love. The teen protagonist has a crush on the local laundromat owner, who is in his late twenties. Yet, the older man feels uncomfortable about their age gap and turns down the relationship. Despite the rejection, the characters continue to spend time together as they struggle with their repressed feelings.
This cozy, delicate BL drama has an intimate vibe. It explores the intricacies of attraction with thoughtful writing and gentle humour. However, the age difference in Minato's Laundromat is impossible to overlook. The adult lead is ten years older than his teenage love interest, creating a dubious dynamic in the romance. Although the series navigates their connection compellingly, many interactions seem irritating and inappropriate.
Minato's Laundromat Summary
Around 5 hours
Nice and gentle
Around 25 minutes
Minato used to work a stressful job in the city until he suffered from burnout. After a recent health scare, he quits the company and moves back to his cozy hometown. Minato inherited a tiny laundromat from his grandfather, frequented by many locals in a suburban neighbourhood. He runs this small business peacefully, befriending many residents. His new life is more relaxing than before.
One day, a high school student named Shin visits the laundromat. Minato immediately notices the teenager's physical attractiveness, matching his perfect type. However, Minato is aware of Shin's youth. This seventeen-year-old boy is too young for him, an adult man almost in his thirties. Minato reminds himself not to cross any boundaries. As Minato and Shin introduce themselves, they share pleasant yet platonic interactions.
Minato gives Shin a bottle of water to alleviate the summer heat. Later that evening, Shin brings some sweets to the laundromat to return the favour. They chat casually and grow more familiar. Shin begins visiting Minato's laundromat more often. According to Shin, the washing machine at home is usually occupied since he comes from a big family with multiple siblings. He enjoys quiet time at the laundromat, keeping Minato company.
Shin gets a heat stroke on a hot summer day and faints outside the laundromat. Minato brings the ill teenager to his home, helping him recuperate. Their physical contact and close boundaries make him feel nervous. Later, Minato slips up in a conversation and reveals that he likes men. Shin responds nervously to his coming out, and they don't communicate for two weeks. When they finally chat again, Shin confesses that he desires Minato.
Despite the confession, Minato won't reciprocate Shin's feelings. He believes a romance between an adult and a high school student is inappropriate. Shin continues to hang out at the laundromat, constantly flirting with the owner. Nonetheless, Minato resists his advances each time. As Shin's crush deepens, his friend Akira and sister Sakurako become aware of this unrequited love. They get involved and try pushing the couple together. Over time, Minato finds his resolve wavering. He struggles between his attraction to Shin and his insecurities about their age difference.
Minato's Laundromat Trailer
Minato's Laundromat Cast
Takuya Kusakawa (草川拓弥)
Minato is a laundromat owner almost in his thirties. He used to work in the city, but quit the stressful office job after his health collapsed. Minato moved back to his hometown and inherited his grandfather's business. He is a cheerful, easygoing business owner who befriends many local residents. Minato is an excellent swimmer and used to be on the high school team until his injury.
Takuya Kusakawa (草川拓弥) is a Japanese actor. He is born on November 24, 1994. His first BL project is a supporting role in the 2020 drama, Cherry Magic. He also appears in the 2022 sequel, Cherry Magic! The Movie. Takuya's first BL leading role is the 2022 series, Minato's Laundromat. He appears in the 2023 sequel, Minato's Laundromat 2.
Sho Nishigaki (西垣匠)
Shin is a seventeen-year-old high school student. He lives with his parents, grandparents, and younger siblings. Shin enjoys visiting the laundromat to get some quiet, solitary time away from his family. He initiates an intimate friendship with Minato despite their age difference. Like Minato, Shin used to enjoy competitive swimming until an injury.
Tomoya Oku (奥智哉)
Hana Toyoshima (豊嶋花)
Seiji Fukushi (福士誠治)
Yu Inaba (稲葉友)
Sayuri Inoue (井上小百合)
Neo Inoue (井上音生)
- The lead actor who portrays Akira (Kusakawa Takuya) had a supporting role in the 2020 Japanese BL series Cherry Magic. He played one of the main character's office coworkers. He also reprised his role in the 2022 movie sequel.
- Shuu's actor (Yu Inaba) appeared in the 2021 Japanese live-action BL drama Given. He played Ugetsu, a talented violinist and one of the love interests. He is also the star of the 2022 movie Sing in Love.
Minato's Laundromat Review
Drama Review Score: 7.4
Minato's Laundromat is a delicate BL drama with a cozy vibe. Led by a poised storyteller, it blends gentle humour, tender messages, and introspective characters into a thoughtfully crafted narrative. The series explores many vulnerable emotions. The leads constantly analyze their feelings as they contemplate between restraint and desire. Minato's Laundromat is an intimate journey defined by sincerity, sensitivity, and self-examination.
This soothing story is undermined by a scandalous pairing. Minato's Laundromat features an alarming age difference between the mismatched leads. The titular character is an adult in his late 20s, a decade older than his juvenile love interest. Shin is a 17-year-old kid still going through puberty. Minato keeps turning down Shin's advances, tormented about hooking up with a high school student. Yet, he isn't firm in his conviction. Minato sets blurry boundaries, gives mixed signals, and does just enough to stoke the teenager's affections.
I detest the BL couple in Minato's Laundromat, and my discomfort goes beyond their generation gap. Shin is an obnoxious twerp who badgers Minato, invades his personal space, and forces aggressive advances onto an unwilling target. The reckless behaviour highlights his immaturity, demonstrating why he shouldn't be in a relationship with an adult. At one point, Shin claims he'll leave Minato alone. Yet, he drops manipulative statements like, "The only person I'll love in this life is you." I hate that Shin's emotional blackmail makes Minato feel guilty about moving on.
The superb acting elevates this series. Both leads give sentimental performances that capture their characters' range of emotions. You can feel immersed in their awe, anguish, anger, anxiety, or apprehension. Minato's actor (Takuya) carries an easygoing charm that makes his carefree personality shine on screen. His costar (Sho) seems genuine, especially nailing the dramatic exchanges. Sho looks older than a teen, more like he's in his twenties. His mature appearance doesn't legitimatize the romance, but it lessens the optics of the age-inappropriate couple.
Minato's Laundromat takes great care to nurture its warm, graceful, and relaxed atmosphere. Despite the troubling romance, the series never feels sleazy or sensationalist. It portrays Minato's moral dilemma sympathetically and offers thorough insights into his character. The plot examines his regrets, relationship history, and repressed feelings for Shin. Also, it addresses Minato's sexuality more candidly than the typical Japanese BL drama. It would be unfair to only focus on the couple's age and discredit the other sophisticated storylines in Minato's Laundromat.
As much as I enjoy the meaningful themes & heartfelt performances, I have multiple complaints with this series. I dislike that the story paints a one-sided picture of the romance, deliberately hiding critical voices or consequences. The relationship dynamics become repetitive as the characters go through similar conflicts every episode. Most of all, Minato's Laundromat presents too many psychological barriers for me, from age disparity to boundary issues. I find myself rooting against the couple instead of championing their love, the sign of an unsuccessful BL drama.
Minato's Laundromat blends gentle humour and sentimental messages into a thoughtful narrative. The story features introspective characters and explores their emotions intricately.
The adult protagonist is ten years older than his teenage love interest. Their age difference makes me uncomfortable. I'm also annoyed by Shin's immature behaviour & disregard for boundaries.
Both leads elevate the series with their raw, genuine emotions. They do exceptionally well in the dramatic exchanges, bringing gravitas to their performances.
Minato's Laundromat has a happy ending after the characters sort out any confusion and solidify their feelings. Thankfully, Shin is no longer a seventeen-year-old teen at the end of the series.
The series cultivates a calm, soothing atmosphere through its soft visuals. I love the intimate ambiance of the swimming pool scene in Episode 3.
Minato's Laundromat is a fascinating BL drama with introspective characters, sentimental themes, and a cozy atmosphere. However, I can't endorse the romance due to the uncomfortable age gap.
Minato's Laundromat Episodes
Minato's Laundromat has a total of 12 episodes. Each episode is around 25 minutes long. It is a long BL drama, and you can finish the entire series in around 5 hours. Minato's Laundromat started on June 29, 2022 and ended its last episode on September 14, 2022.
Minato's Laundromat has a second season. The sequel contains a total of 12 episodes. Minato's Laundromat 2 started on July 5, 2023 and finished on September 20, 2023.
Episode 1 Review
Going into Minato's Laundromat, I knew nothing about the BL drama. I had no idea there would be an age gap in the romance, especially of this magnitude. When Minato revealed he was 10 years older than his teenage love interest, my first reaction was, "Oh dear." He's too young for you, Uncle Minato! This series started with an uphill battle, and I was staunchly against the couple from their first exchange.
In his inner thoughts, Minato says he shouldn't get involved with a high school student. Yet, his actions speak otherwise. You're alone in your bedroom with this seventeen-year-old kid. You sit beside him in bed, compliment his handsome looks, and start talking about "needs". Do you think that's the right place and time to discuss this topic? Uncle Minato, you're crossing into dangerous territory. Stay away from the forbidden fruit!
I'd like to reiterate that I condemn the Minato & Shin couple. With that said, the last scene made me laugh inappropriately. Shin flirts with Minato and grabs his hand. Minato protests, claiming he has to charge a fee for touching him. Shin immediately gets excited and goes, "Touch you anywhere!?" I'm screaming at how Minato finds himself solicited by a seventeen-year-old high school student, bartering sexual favours with him. The circumstances are so WILD. I thought this BL drama was about an innocent laundromat! How did the story get to this point!? *lmao*
Episode 2 Review
Ugh, Shin's behaviour is so offensive. He keeps forcing himself onto Minato, intrudes his personal space, and can't take no for an answer. Minato rejected you multiple times, clearly stating he doesn't feel comfortable about hooking up because of your age. Can you respect his wishes and keep your distance!? Just because you have a schoolboy crush doesn't give you the right to harass this man.
Minato's Laundromat pushes this false narrative that Minato is the "childish" one in this relationship dynamic. I don't see it that way at all. From my perspective, Minato behaves rationally and responsibly most of the time. In contrast, Shin acts like a self-centred brat who can't control his impulses. His actions are reckless, showing a complete disregard for Minato's feelings. He behaves with the mentality of, "I like him, so he must like me back." Shin is an immature and insensitive kid emotionally unequipped to be in a romance with an adult.
I've been ragging on Shin, but I do empathize with his character. Put yourself in his shoes. Imagine if you're a gay high school student in Japan, where the norm is for guys and girls to court each other. You don't have many options in your regular dating pool. Once you stumble upon a laundromat owner who's also gay, you latch onto him out of kinship. Finally, you find someone capable of returning your feelings, even if he's out of your age group.
Minato's Laundromat resonates differently than other Japanese BL dramas. I enjoy those series because they're delightful fairytale fantasies, but they don't feel real. In contrast, Minato's Laundromat seems more down-to-earth, capturing LGBT experiences candidly. Minato identifies as gay, hasn't come out to others, and feels secretive about his attraction. Likewise, Shin gets teased after Asuka figures out he's flirting with a guy. Both leads carry an emotional burden that Japanese BL leads don't typically shoulder. Their turmoil makes this love story grittier and relatable.
Episode 3 Review
I was stunned by the flashback of Minato kissing his high school teacher. I thought he had a schoolboy crush and didn't act on it. Or, at most, he may have confessed his feelings. I didn't expect Minato to plant a smooch on his teacher! OMG, that takes guts! 😮 With that said, is Minato incapable of falling for anyone in his age group? This guy always seems to go too high or too low. He knows there are age-appropriate gay men outside the vicinity of his high school, right?
The beach conversation is memorable. Minato talks about having a crush on Sakuma, his high school teacher. He tells Shin, "Maybe you're like me. You're attracted to an older man and mistook it for love. You'll realize that one day." I like how Minato draws from his past experiences to offer advice to Shin. Minato seems wise and wistful during this moment. Shin becomes upset, and his actor (Sho Nishigaki) gives an impressive performance. His facial expression depicts the raw anguish of being misunderstood. He appears so vulnerable and believable.
This episode is successful because I enjoy learning about Minato's past. We get to know him better as an individual. I like him reminiscing about his high school memories and contemplating his past regrets. His introspection culminates in a captivating swimming pool scene at the end. After opening up to Shin, they fall into the pool together. The couple is on the cusp of sharing a passionate kiss, but Minato stops him just in time. I love the intimate ambiance, heightened emotions & the exciting buildup of sexual tension.
I don't like Shin's friend Asuka. Are they even friends? He gives off sinister vibes with his snide comments and sketchy behaviour. However, I giggle when he talks about going to the bathhouse with Minato. Shin's reaction is priceless. The prospect of Minato & Asuka being naked and chummy must've been a mind-blowing revelation for Shin. His bathhouse fantasy scene is hilarious. 😄
Episode 4 Review
I hate how Shin forces himself into Minato's home. Minato is so disturbed that he immediately closes the door, the surest sign that you aren't welcomed as a guest. Yet, Shin insists on entering, invading Minato's privacy, and overstepping personal boundaries. GTFO! He doesn't want you inside his home! Ugh, this teenage stalker is so menacing. The worst part is that Shin thinks "being in love" gives him the excuse to act inappropriately.
Shin's behaviour is wrong. However, Minato leads him on and entertains this teenager's delusions. Minato may have rejected Shin multiple times, but the message isn't coming across decisively. They need to have a stern chat, emphasizing the impossibility of romance. Get Shin's parents involved if necessary. I'm sorry, but this harassment shouldn't go on any longer. It's time to take more drastic measures if Shin can't get the hint. Instead, Minato almost kisses him in this episode!? You say you don't want to be with him, but then you betray your conviction.
My favourite moment of the episode is when Minato shows up at Shin's sporting event. He wears an undercover disguise and doesn't want anyone at the school to notice him. However, Minato is dressed exactly like the underwear thief that appeared earlier in the episode. From the baseball cap to the black jacket, the resemblance is uncanny. 😆
Episode 5 Review
Sakuma has an adorable personality! I didn't expect him to be this ditzy. However, I believe he's playing dumb and deliberately evading the topic of their rooftop kiss. Sakuma's scenes are endearing, especially that flashback of him trying Minato's cigarette. He has an excellent character introduction, making me intrigued and excited about his storyline. I'm not as keen on Sakuma's nephew, Shuu, who seems randomly inserted to the story.
It's the third episode in a row where Minato and Shin come close to a kiss without it happening. No, I don't want them to hook up. However, the constant tease of intimacy is getting annoying. The episodes are stuck in a pattern where Shin acts predatory and Minato resists fiercely. Their dynamic makes me uneasy. I'm also not a fan of Shin's jealous streak, adding another unsavoury trait to his detestable personality. The more I see this couple, the less I want them together.
Episode 6 Review
Minato's ex-girlfriend is a remnant of his relationship history. Like Sakuma, Saki's arrival forces Minato to confront his past regrets. A recurring theme is that he runs away from uncomfortable problems. Minato abandoned his job, ditched his girlfriend, and avoided meeting with his teacher at high school reunions. His defence mechanism is to retreat and hide. Seeing Saki again is part of Minato's character growth. He must overcome his confusion, cowardice, and lack of confidence.
Saki came to Minato's hometown seeking an explanation for their breakup. Initially, Minato avoided the topic and wouldn't tell her the truth. However, he comes out to her at the end of this episode. Minato changes his mind because he feels troubled by his indecisiveness. He sees parallels between Shin and Maki, who are hurt because Minato won't commit to them. By coming out, Minato takes a courageous step in owning up to his past mistakes. He wants to be honest, handle his relationships considerately, and stop hiding from his problems.
The most hypocritical moment is when Shin calls Minato's ex-girlfriend a stalker. OMG. People who live in glass houses shouldn't throw stones. 🙄 Shin has no room to judge others on obsessive behaviour when he's constantly harassing Minato. The bottom line is that Saki gets rejected, finds her peace, and never bothers her ex again. Meanwhile, Shin spends twelve episodes hounding Minato until he submits to his love. I think we all know who the REAL stalker is.
Shin's classmate has a weird and random subplot. This girl appears in the past few episodes, but always in a minor capacity. She skulks in the background, observes Shin, and barely speaks any lines. Initially, I assumed her role was supposed to be Shin's love interest. Instead, she's a random BL fangirl who ships her male classmates together. Um, okay? Good for her, but what's the point of this odd storyline? *lol*
Episode 7 Review
I laughed nervously at the opening scene. Shin sees Minato acting touchy-feely with the swim team and calls him a pervert. Uncle Minato, behave yourself! It's suspicious how Shin, Asuka, and these high school guys hang out at the laundromat, getting flirty with the owner. I thought Minato runs a family-friendly business, but why does the clientele resemble a brothel of teenage boys? 😶
Can we meet Shin's other family members besides his younger siblings? I'm curious how Shin's parents would react to an adult man grooming their adolescent son. This series portrays a skewed narrative, only featuring characters who are supportive or ignorant about the relationship. Notice how the adults never comment on the romance. The lack of controversy and consequences almost invalidates Minato's concerns about the age difference. I wanted Minato's Laundromat to include other perspectives, adding nuance to the story.
Even though Shin turns 18 in this episode, his schoolboy crush on Minato seems childish. I understand the significance of saving someone's life, but does that equate to developing romantic feelings? However, I like Shin's final line in the episode, filled with desire, desperation and determination. "I'm 18 now. I'm no longer a kid. Can you look at me, not as a kid or a highschooler, but as a man?" Minato keeps rejecting his love interest due to his youth, which Shin can't control. Shin wants Minato to see him beyond his age and recognize his romantic feelings are authentic.
Episode 8 Review
I'm not surprised Shin's grades have been slipping. He is constantly hanging around Minato's place. It seems like he's always there, after school, at night, and during any free time in his schedule. Also, the laundromat must be a terrible place to study with the foot traffic and noisy ruckus in the environment. Besides, how can Shin concentrate on school when he's preoccupied with thoughts of seducing the laundromat owner?
The best part about Episode 8 must be the final scene on the beach. Although Minato had turned down Shin in the past, those encounters were quick and dismissive. But this time, Minato is more vulnerable and speaks from the heart about his emotional turmoil. He feels guilty because Shin is so forthright and confident about his love. In contrast, Minato is a mess and can't overcome his psychological barriers. Despite his confusion, Minato's rejection is clear: "I can't date you." He leaves no room to give Shin false hope. This relationship is impossible.
Shin's response is also heartbreaking. Initially, he pleads for a farewell kiss, but it seems like a desperate move. Shin knows he'll lose Minato and thinks this drastic display of affection may change Minato's mind about him. Later, Shin puts on a brave face and tries to deal with the rejection gracefully. However, this eighteen-year-old boy feels devastated, unable to hold back his tears. The scene captures Shin and Minato's fragile emotions so vividly. Despite not being a fan of the couple, I feel moved by their sorrow.
Episode 9 Review
Ugh, why is Shin still hanging around Minato? After being rejected in the last episode, I thought he'd go through a cool-off period. Instead, he continues meddling in Minato's life and even gets involved with Sakuma. I'm also irked by Shin's emotional blackmail. He drops manipulative statements like, "The only one I'll love in this life is you." Shin transfers his burden onto Minato, making him feel guilty about not reciprocating his love. I'll never experience love again because of you!
The Sakurako storyline bores me. I see the parallels between her character and Shin's situation because they both suffer from unrequited love. However, their plots are too similar, so she doesn't bring any new messages to the narrative. Sakurako's crush on Shuu is like a watered-down version of Shin's infatuation with Minato. The love triangle with Asuka is also annoying. I'm not invested in these supporting characters or their banal relationship drama.
Episode 10 Review
I adore Sakuma! What a precious human being. 😙 Even though his character may act ditzy and clumsy, Sakuma is compassionate and emotionally intelligent. He handles his conversation with Minato responsibly, showing poise and composure. Sakuma reaffirms teacher-student boundaries, implying there's no chance of a romance in the past or the present. Yet, he lets down Minato gently and handles a delicate conversation with so much warmth.
Sakuma's joke near the end shows that he remembers the rooftop kiss. After all, how could he forget? However, Sakuma doesn't bring up the incident until he clears the air with Minato. He never pressures Minato until his former student is emotionally ready to have this conversation. Despite their awkward past, Sakuma remains friendly with Minato and never makes their relationship uneasy. I've written extensively about inappropriate behaviour in this episode guide, but I should highlight that Sakuma does everything right. He is a class act!
I don't want Sakuma and Minato to be a couple because their history is too thorny. As a current teacher, Sakuma shouldn't get involved with his past students. The series handles their dynamic perfectly since he's better off as Minato's mentor than a love interest. With that said, I prefer shipping Minato with Sakuma than with Shin. Sakuma seems mature, respectful, and composed, compared to Shin's childish, reckless, and impulsive personality. At least Minato and his former teacher feel like two adults on the same wavelength.
Episode 11 Review
Okay, what happened to Minato's "I really can't date you" energy from Episode 8? Minato and Shin tour around Tokyo, taking lovey-dovey pictures and even crossing their arms as they eat. It's basically a romantic date. 😑 Then, they spend the night holding hands as they go to sleep. Why do they act more like a couple AFTER Minato rejects Shin? Minato could've avoided so many intimate scenarios in this episode. Yet, he seems spineless and sends mixed signals to Shin.
Since the Asuka and Shuu secondary romance makes up a small part of the plot, their scenes are insignificant. Even so, I don't want to watch this couple. Maybe it's because I've never warmed to Asuka's character, and Shuu resembles a one-dimensional caricature. Their relationship feels random, irrelevant, and underdeveloped. I put up with Minato and Shin because they're the leads, but this other romantic subplot means nothing to me. I'd rather watch somebody else (i.e. Sakuma) in the spotlight.
I like that Shin spends a few months away from Minato to focus on his studies. It highlights his self-control, a trait Shin lacked in past episodes. He shows enough restraint to stay away from Minato without badgering him. Also, Shin understands his priorities. Shin isn't a lovestruck teen who only cares about flirting. Instead, he's mature enough to pay attention to school. Plus, their time apart makes Shin appear less clingy. Shin's identity doesn't depend on whether a guy returns his feelings.
The fake farewell letter is a red herring to drive some last-minute drama in the finale. This plot device is a little corny, but it does the job and makes Minato confront his feelings. As Minato reads the letter, the series plays a relationship montage mixed with Shin's voiceover monologue. Every memory emphasizes how much Shin cares about him. I can sense Minato's emotional barriers coming down. He's thinking, "Why am I resisting so hard to deny someone who loves me this much?" Also, Shin is now older and about to graduate high school, making their age disparity more acceptable.
I like that Minato is the one who chases after Shin. The old Minato hid from problems and reacted passively to his circumstances. In the finale, he's actively pursuing his happiness. Minato isn't sitting inside his laundromat, wallowing in hesitation. He leaves his comfort zone, taking the initiative to seek Shin, kiss him, and be emotionally honest. Minato controls his narrative and no longer denies himself the right to love. He's free from his insecurities and anxieties. His self-enlightenment feels empowering, ending Minato's Laundromat on a thematically satisfying note.
Minato's Laundromat Season 2
Minato's Laundromat has a sequel, which follows the story after the first season's events. There is a roughly three-month time skip between the two seasons, so Minato is around 29 and Shun is around 18. Titled Minato's Laundromat 2, it contains twelve half-hour episodes. The series started on July 5, 2023 and finished on September 20, 2023. You should watch Minato's Laundromat Season 1 before beginning the follow-up.
I enjoyed Minato's Laundromat 2 more than the original drama. While the age gap between the leads is troubling, I'm mentally prepared. I go into the second season knowing what to expect. The second season eases on Shun's annoying antics. Although he's still infatuated with Minato, his behaviour seems less obsessive. There are also cute, cheerful scenes between the couple. They share a lighthearted rapport that makes each episode entertaining. Unfortunately, Minato's Laundromat 2 declines in quality toward the end. Nonetheless, I still have a favourable impression of the series.
Minato's Laundromat Information
Yuzu Tsubaki (椿ゆず) is the original creator of Minato's Laundromat. This manga is adapted into a Japanese BL drama in 2022.
Junichi Kanai (金井純一) is a Japanese director. His first BL project is the 2022 series, Minato's Laundromat. He also directed the 2023 sequel, Minato's Laundromat 2.